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8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

8 Ways to Relieve Neck Pain

Been working late on your laptop? Slept in some awkward position? Not used to playing tennis or golf for more than an hour but still played for half a day with friends? At one point or another, you must have felt some stiffness or pain in your neck, shoulders or back. I am not an expert in the field, but I work a lot on laptop frequently and experience pain in my shoulders, upper back and neck quite often and I know some tricks. So, here are some tried and tested remedies which might be very useful to release the stiffness. You can do a few of them right in your office. before popping pain killers, try following these eight ways to naturally relieve neck pain.

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    1. Hot water compresses.

    This is the simplest remedy you can try at home. Just apply a hot water bag or heat packs to your neck and shoulders. This helps increase the blood circulation in the area and give some relief. Some people prefer cold packs. Try both of them to figure out which works for you.

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    2. Massages.

    Ask a friend or a friendly relative to gently massage your trapezius muscle, which extends from the base of your skull down to your back and shoulders. This will ease the muscles and help you relax. But be sure to make certain that the massage is not too harsh.

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      3. Neck exercises.

      Rotate your neck. Breath in while bringing your head back and breath out while lowering your chin towards your chest. Rotate your head very gently in clockwise directions 7-8 times. Repeat in a counterclockwise direction. Do this very gently. Your aim is to relax the muscles, not to stress you out even more. Regular movement helps the muscles stay stronger.

      4. Stretch your shoulders.

      Roll your shoulders backwards and forward. Lock your fingers, and raise your arms above your head. Look straight ahead and don’t shrug. Hold for one minute and lower your arms. Relax, roll your shoulders once again and then repeat the stretch. Do not do any stretches, which could potentially increase your pain. Better, contact a chiropractor to show you some simple stretches that will relax your muscles further.

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      5. De-stress yourself.

      Clasp your fists together at your back. Pulling your shoulders together, try lifting your hands as high as possible. Hold for a few seconds, relax, and then repeat this de-stressing exercise. This is one of the stretches which I do frequently, sometimes several times a day. A very simple exercise to try.

      6. Avoid uncomfortable positions and activity.

      Avoid driving, heavy lifting, or sitting in any position which will stress your shoulders and neck even more. Avoid neck collars as well. Restricting movement might do more harm than good.

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      7. Try “healing” foods.

      Dark chocolate. Yes, you get candy. It provides flavonols, compounds that help improve blood flow to those tired muscles. Blueberries, pomegranates, pumpkin seeds, ginger and cherries also have anti-inflammatory properties and, in turn, soothe the muscles.

      8. Don’t be shy about resting up.

      Take a day off. Go home. Relax. Watch your favorite movie and go to sleep. Make sure you sleep on a low and firm pillow, as this will prevent unnecessary bending of your neck.

      And if none of those work, contact your doctor immediately. The pain could be resulting from some serious underlying problem which you need to get checked immediately. 

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        Featured photo credit: Kurt Komoda via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on March 13, 2019

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

        Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

        You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

        Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

        1. Work on the small tasks.

        When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

        Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

        2. Take a break from your work desk.

        Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

        Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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        3. Upgrade yourself

        Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

        The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

        4. Talk to a friend.

        Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

        Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

        5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

        If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

        Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

        Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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        6. Paint a vision to work towards.

        If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

        Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

        Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

        7. Read a book (or blog).

        The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

        Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

        Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

        8. Have a quick nap.

        If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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        9. Remember why you are doing this.

        Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

        What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

        10. Find some competition.

        Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

        Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

        11. Go exercise.

        Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

        Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

        As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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        Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

        12. Take a good break.

        Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

        Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

        Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

        Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

        More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

        Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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